Evander Kane could be an issue for the Oilers whether he plays or not

Pending official confirmation, the Oilers must weigh up the pros and cons of whether to play Evander Kane or sit him for game two versus the Panthers.
Edmonton Oilers v Florida Panthers - Game One
Edmonton Oilers v Florida Panthers - Game One / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

The Edmonton Oilers undoubtedly need to be more physical, when they play the Florida Panthers in game two on Monday night. However, at the time of writing, there's an uncertainty of if they're going to have to do this without one of their most physical players.

As per Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now on 630 CHED, Evander Kane was not on ice for practice, leading to the question of if this is just a precautionary measure as a result of his ongoing sports hernia issue? Or is it a sign of something worse, in relation to said hernia or the undisclosed injury he suffered during the first period of game six versus the Dallas Stars in the previous round?

As you'd expect, the media asked Kane about managing his injury and if he expects to play in game two. He said: "Yeah I think I'm going to be playing tonight. It's the Stanley Cup Final, so I think everybody's geared up and ready to play. There's lots of guys going through different things (and) I'm excited about tonight's game and responding from game one."

A non-answer in reality

In truth, the 32-year-old's response didn't really answer the question properly other than saying he hopes to play. In terms of managing his injury, he gave a response about players in general, as opposed to his own specific issue (or issues).

Of course, as we've previously written, there is the balance between the Oilers wanting (and needing) Kane to play, versus him being healthy enough to be able to contribute effectively. In this respect the reality is he did little in game one against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, with him playing 15:22 and only managing two hits, along with not even one shot attempt at goal.

At the time of writing, we are still awaiting official confirmation of whether or not Kane will be playing in game two. However, no matter how tough he -- and he's plenty tough enough -- both he and the organisation have to take a smart approach with this whole situation.

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If that means the 2009 fourth overall draft pick sitting out Monday night and having more time to rest before game three on Thursday, then so be it. As much as he should be respected for wanting to be the consummate teammate and put his body on the line for the Oilers, he can also proven his unselfishness by resting and getting himself healthier to contribute more effectively when the series moves to Edmonton.

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